THE KING'S SPEECH
Upon the occasion of the scholastic year 2010-2011, His Majesty King Abdullah II delivered the following address to students and teachers of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
My Dear Sons and Daughters, Teachers,
Peace, God's mercy and blessings be upon you.
Today you will start a new school year, which is the 90th year since our precious country started its march of giving, and achievement. Education has throughout this history been a top priority, and so it has been the source providing the country with qualified persons equipped with knowledge and committed to Jordan's message, constants and vision for a bright future.
As we start a new year in the process of building, I am aware that this is the day waited by the country, fathers, mothers and children. A mother who sends her child to school does not only send with him a mere school bag, but rather sends with him the future; the father who bids his children goodbye in the morning sends with them to school hope for a better future. In our schools, teachers wait for our children, who are pieces of our souls. The teachers are trustees assigned by the nation to look after the future and the builders of tomorrow. They are the ones who every year sustain the times of goodness, blessing and joy.
Education, which is based in terms of its reference framework and vision on Islam's message of tolerance and the values of Arabism and noble humanity. Education is the foundation on which this country was built. We are proud of our cultural identity and we are moving forward with reform and development, aiming at securing our children with the best educational levels and build their capacity so that they can continue the march of future building and achievement in an age where knowledge is indispensable in efforts to overcome the many challenges inherent in this era.
Teachers are a basic pillar in the efforts to achieve success in reviving and developing the educational process. Teachers are leaders and pioneers that lead the way for the future of our precious country. They build free and educated citizens who have no fear saying what they believe is the right and they are aware that countries are built with the hard work of their citizens and that big challenges are faced with a firm will and loyalty to a country that fears no one and knows no hesitation or isolationism.
We are keen to improve the working conditions of teachers. We introduced last year and the years before a package of measures and incentives that we hope will be followed with more feasible measures to improve teachers' standards of living and enable them to carry out their mission as perfectly as possible.
Dear teachers, dear sons and daughters, we are foreseeing a coming stage where the spirit of learning is enhanced in a way that makes us more competitive, a stage where we are open to the world and our national model of knowledge is at its best. Let us convey to the world our message of freedom, justice, and safeguarding of human dignity. Let's bear in mind that schools house the future of the country and the hopes and dreams of parents.
Within this context, I would like to underline the need to complete the kindergartens project as part of an ambitious plan to establish the needed educational research, studies and consultations centers so that our educational policies would not be confined to a limited experience, regardless of what this experience has yielded for the country, which we appreciate and honor. I have directed the government to continue drawing up plans to ensure the continuity of the educational development process with regard to all aspects related to the school environment, infrastructure and curricula on the one hand, and those related to taking care of teachers: improving their living conditions and rehabilitating and training them, on the other. I have also directed the government to work on effective mechanisms to launch the school nutrition program, because a healthy brain needs a healthy body. I hope that this program will be in place as soon as possible.
The relationship with the private sector should also be developed so as to support the educational process in a way that all share the responsibility towards the future generations. The Madrasati Initiative overseen by Her Majesty Queen Rania poses as a pioneering model, highlighting the fruits of cooperation and community partnership in developing school environment and, subsequently, invest in the future generations.
Our constant goal is to do our best so that the Jordanian individual will remain able to stand up to challenges and difficult turns in their lives and to be always shining and to give the best to their country. As the leadership of this country has known Jordanians, they have never defeated our expectations and have always "given [others] preference over themselves". Therefore, they built the country to achieve its humanist and pan-nationalist enterprise and weaved a national fabric that cannot be fragmented, while its creative citizens took our vision to the entire world.
The kind of conduct we wish to see from the hundreds of thousands who are fighting the battle of progress in such an age of knowledge is democracy. A democratic approach ensures freedom of thinking, free expression and taking the side of the right, promoting a stand for humanity and for what is correct and systematic. Let us take our students to an environment where they can practice free debates, democracy and loyalty to the country. We must launch a process of revision so as to remove everything that is not fit for the stage and ensure the continuity of educational development to keep up with the spirit of the age.
May God grant us success in serving our country.
Peace and God's mercy and blessings be upon you.
His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein
Amman, 14 September 2010